My wife and I and a friend are planning a backpacking trip through Europe. We think now's the best time as we're still young and nimble (mid-20s), and we'll be between commitments (jobs and school).
Has anyone done the backpacking thing; if so, what suggestions do you have?
Is anyone else doing something somewhat adventurous before burying our noses in books?
It's all about Eastern Europe. I've lived in France and then Switzerland for the last 5 years, and while Western Europe has some cool stuff, it's hard to do much on a budget (though Barcelona is highly recommendable). As a possibility, I would suggest starting in Berlin, moving south to Dresden (which is a surprisingly beautiful town), and then to Prague, eventually making your way to Vienna and then up the Danube to Budapest. I'm actually currently trying to convince my wife to make that very trip this summer.
Also highly recommendable is the coast of Croatia. It's stunningly beautiful, relatively inexpensive, and not overly touristy.
Places to avoid in the summer include Paris, the south of France, and most of Italy. There's definitely stuff to see in those places, but they're overpriced and over-crowded with tourists, particularly in the summer months. If you're looking for interesting cultural experiences, they won't give you much.